It's been quite a while since I added to this site but it's due for a revival, for the use of SCs has been increasing in the last few years. Since the last post way back in 2011 the use of SCs has developed in at least four interesting ways:
Professional skills assessment
In 2013 the SRA redesigned their creaking QLTT, Qualifying Lawyers Transfer Test, effectively a paper and pencil test of knowledge, to include assessments of knowledge, skills and values. The new and much more rigorous assessment, called the Qualifying Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), is detailed below, and in much more detail in articles by Crewe, Fry and Wakeford published in The Law Teacher. It was based in part on the work of the SCI, and Maharg was asked to join the Working Party that created the assessment and the tender documentation. It's discussed briefly in posts below. It represents a significant step-change in the assessment of professional legal skills, and has attracted the attention of regulators globally.
Extension of jurisdictional base
Originally set up in Scotland, with invaluable assistance from the USA and England, the SCI now reaches as far afield as Australia, Hong Kong and the USA, and will be extending further in the next few years.
Growth of research literature
Over the past six years Wilson Chow and Michael Ng, Hong Kong Faculty of Law, have contributed serious studies of interdisciplinary and inter-cultural aspects of SC use in legal education. Some of their work is represented in the LH column. Over in the USA, a fine study of the University of New Hampshire's Daniel Webster Honors Scholar programme, Ahead of the Curve, demonstrates the power and effectiveness of the heuristic. Rory O'Boyle has written in detail about use of the SCs in Irish professional legal education; and is currently undertaking a doctoral study on the heuristic. This and other research represents a growing body of educational research on an almost entirely new heuristic in legal education.
Expansion of international collaboration
In Hong Kong, two universities are using the method in their programmes of study. If the third can be brought into the SCI then Hong Kong will be the first jurisdiction to have all HE institutions using the method. We're working with some regulators to persuade them of the power and flexibility of the method, not just for professional education but as a tool of general legal education that should be an essential element of undergraduate programmes. And as the LETR Report pointed out, we need a shared approach internationally where regulators and providers can meet, discuss and analyse projects such as the SCI, and reflect on how it could be used, or better used, within their jurisdictions.
So the site has been dusted off, updated, and blog posts and resources will be added on an occasional basis. Want to be a member of the SCI? We're looking for members to be actively involved, either in setting up SC projects, in maintaining them, and/or researching them. You don't have to be a legal educator, just someone interested in doing work in the field, whatever your discipline. If you're interested or want more information, contact Paul Maharg, email firstname.lastname@example.org .